Verbascum thapsus subsp. thapsus

Great Mullein

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Erect biennial 0.5–2 m high, greyish- or whitish-tomentose with dense stellate eglandular hairs. Lower leaves with lamina obovate to elliptic, 8–50 cm long, 2.5–14 cm wide, margins entire or crenate, base tapering into short petiole; upper leaves sessile and decurrent on stem. Racemes simple or branched, dense, 15–100 cm long; 2–7 flowers in each bract axil; bracts 12–18 mm long; pedicels 1–5 mm long; bracteoles 2. Sepals 6–12 mm long; corolla 1.5–3 cm diam., pale yellow-ivory or yellow, pubescent outside with numerous glandular dots; stamens 5, unequal, 10–15 mm long, lowest pair of filaments glabrous except somewhat villous near middle, upper 3 villous, hairs colourless, anthers reniform, decurrent or obliquely inserted. Capsule broad-ovoid, 7–10 mm long, tomentose.  Flowers Nov.–Mar.

*CVU, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Gold, *HNF, *HSF, *MonT, *MuF, *NIS, *OtP, *OtR, *Strz, *VAlp, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP. Naturalised in all States except NT. Native to Europe and Asia. Locally common on roadsides, in neglected pasture, margins of watercourses etc., particularly on shallow soils overlying rock and soils derived from limestone, mostly in relatively low-rainfall areas.

In all Australian material examined the lowest pair of anther filaments are glabrous except for a villous area in the middle.  This feature is diagnostic for subsp. thapsus.

Source: Barker, W.R.; Harden, G.J. (1999). Verbascum. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-09-10
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Lamiales
genus Verbascum
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Verbascum thapsus subsp. thapsus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Verbascum thapsus subsp. thapsus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised
Monaro Tablelands present naturalised
Victorian Alps present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory